- Locating a place to live can take time and research depending on your budget and the amenities you are looking for.
- When searching for a place to live, there are many factors that you should consider such as: How close to campus is the apartment? Is there public transportation or a bike path nearby? Is the unit already furnished or will it be necessary to provide your own furniture, cooking supplies, appliances, etc.? Will you have a roommate? Will you have to share a bathroom? Is there a clothes washer and dryer in the unit or on-site? What utilities are included in the rent?
Finding Off-Campus Housing
- There are many different ways to look for available housing. Listed below are some suggestions for finding vacancies.
- University-Owned Properties
The University of Denver owns and operates a number of rental units within walking distance of campus. More details are available on the Rental Properties webpage.
- DU Campus Life Office
The Campus Life office in Driscoll North (Suite 200) has information that landlords have dropped off about different rental properties. Students can stop by and browse through the brochures and flyers.
- Apartment Locators
These services and websites are free for prospective renters since the agents earn commissions from the landlords. They will compile a list of properties for you to review based on your needs and budget.
The popular community website www.craigslist.com allows users to post ads and to search for rental units and roommates.
- Bulletin Boards
Many grocery stores, DU campus buildings including the International House, and common spaces have areas where the public can post flyers for many things including landlords advertising a vacancy.
- Visit the Neighborhood Looking for Rent Signs
If you know of a particular neighborhood that you would like to live in, consider walking along its streets. Some property owners will advertise an opening by placing a 'Vacancy' or 'Room for Rent' sign in the yard or in the window.
When responding to any advertisement or website, use caution and do not disclose personal or banking information until you have met the person who posted the listing.
Signing a Lease
- An application fee is often required to check a renter's credit and criminal history before being approved to lease a property.
- The lease agreement is a legal contract obligating you to pay rent on a property for a specified amount of time. The contract should outline the terms of your lease, including the service you can expect from your landlord or rental agency. Before signing, review the document carefully. If you have questions, speak to the landlord or property manager so that you fully understand its terms. If you and the landlord have agreed to changes in the rental contract, make sure to get them in writing.
- Although it is sometimes possible to "break" your lease, or move out before the date specified in the contract, it is often difficult to do so and you could be legally obligated to continue paying the rent.
- Please visit the Additional Housing Resources section below for more information on your rights as a renter in Colorado.
You may be asked to pay a security deposit and/or a damage deposit when signing a lease. The security deposit is often equal to the first and last months' rent to cover possible damage to the unit or unpaid bills. In most cases, you will receive the entire deposit back when you move out, provided the apartment is clean and in good condition.
Before moving in, you should complete a check-in sheet. This sheet is a written document describing the condition of each room, including furniture, carpeting and appliances. Be sure to mark down anything that is damaged or stained or needs repair so that you will not be charged for previous damages. Keep a copy of the check-in sheet signed both by you and your landlord. If possible, take photographs of any damage you have recorded on the check-in sheet. When you move out, this documentation may help you resolve disputes with the landlord over the actual condition of the apartment when you moved in.
When you move out, the landlord is required by Colorado law to return the security deposit within thirty days of you leaving the property. Be sure to leave a forwarding address so the landlord can send you your deposit. If part of the deposit was not refunded, the landlord must give you a written notice explaining why e.g. unpaid utility bill, damages caused by the tenant, or cleaning costs. The landlord may not keep the deposit to cover normal wear and tear.
- Renter's insurance provides compensation to a tenant in the event of losses caused by fire, theft, or vandalism, regardless of who is at fault. Insurance policies generally provide coverage for all items in your home, including clothing, electronics, and personal property, as well as any damage to the building itself. The cost of renter's insurance varies, but it is generally considered a good investment, especially if you own anything valuable in your home.
- Before you move in to the apartment, confirm with the landlord or rental company what utilities are included in your monthly rent. Common utility providers include:
- Water – Denver Water
- Electricity and Gas– Xcel Energy
- Television and Internet access – CenturyLink, Comcast, DirectTV or Dish Network
- Local Telephone Service - CenturyLink
- Garbage and/or Sewage - Provided by the city of Denver
- Unless the utility is paid for in your rent, you will need to contact the service provider directly to activate water, power, telephone, or Internet. Generally, service providers offer bundle packages, where you can receive a discounted price for multiple services such as cable TV, high-speed internet, local phone service and/or cellphone service.
- Some utilities require a deposit before activation. If you are sharing an apartment with a roommate, you may choose to open utility accounts in different names so you are each responsible for payment. Make sure you discuss these responsibilities with each of your roommates. The person whose name is on the lease or utility account is ultimately responsible for paying any bills.
- Some apartments include a washer and dryer in the unit, while others come with access to a common laundry facility that all tenants may use. If your apartment has neither, you will need to locate a laundry facility ("laundromat") elsewhere. Common laundry rooms and laundromats typically have machines that require payment in quarters. When using a public laundry facility, use caution regarding your clothes and personal items to ensure they are not damaged or stolen.
- Tenant/Landlord Resources by The Action Center of Jefferson County
- Colorado Tenants' Rights by Colorado Public Interest Research Group
- Colorado Renter's Guide
- Denver Relocation Guide
- Storage and Moving
The purpose of this web page is to provide a broad overview of the subject. It should not be considered an authoritative resource. No company listed above is affiliated with or endorsed by the University of Denver.